Six United States senators urged the Bush administration on Wednesday to reconsider its relationship with the authoritarian government in Uzbekistan, saying close association with a nation whose troops fired on demonstrators last month risked undermining the security of the United States.
The senators - four Republicans and two Democrats - also asked if the administration knew whether American-trained troops or American military equipment were used in the deadly crackdown, in Andijon, in northeastern Uzbekistan.
The senators' statement, in a letter sent to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, exposed growing unease about ties between the United States' military and Uzbekistan's president, Islam A. Karimov, who emerged in 2001 as an important ally in the fight against Islamic terrorists. Copies were obtained by The New York Times from the staffs of two of the senators who signed the letter.
The letter was organized by Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, two Senate staff members said, and was signed by three other Republicans - Mike DeWine of Ohio, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John E. Sununu of New Hampshire - and two Democrats - Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and Patrick Leahy of Vermont.
Based in London, we are an informal group dedicated to supporting democracy and human rights throughout
the former Soviet Union. Our aims are:
Informing the public about issues in this area that receive little coverage in the Western media.
Staging peaceful demonstrations and letter-writing campaigns in support of specific causes.
Supporting and publicising nonviolent pro-democracy groups throughout the region.
Encouraging European and American involvement.
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